Foxtel boss Kim Williams has let slip that the roll out of their new HD network will early in 2008 rather than later with January 08 tipped as the likely date.
The move which will hurt Seven Media’s plans to roll out a competing network based around the Tivo set top box is seen by several analysts as being a much needed service as 2 million HD TV’s are forcast to be sold next year.
Foxtel is set to take HD head on with a new HD iQ set top box, new HD channels spanning sport, documentaries, news, documentaries and movies. It is also rumoured that Foxtel has held discussions with Sony Computer Entertainment who are keen to deliver HD content next year to a new Sony PS3 or new Sony entertainment console which will allow gaming and the viewing of web and Foxtel content to a Sony device.
According to Kim Williams there are problems associated with allowing a third party to access the Foxtel service via a third party device. “We are constantly upgrading the firmware and software inside a Foxtel set top box. This is critical as we have to take responsibility for guaranteeing delivery of the Foxtel service”.
Patrick Delany Executive Director of Content and Delivery at Telstra acknowledged that Foxtel had had talks with Sony about the PS3 but refused to elaborate on where the discussions were at.
During a Q& A session at the Telstra investor briefing Kim Williams said in response to a question about Seven Media and their roll out of their TiVo set top box next year : “I do not think much of what Seven are offering. They will have a recorder when they can make it work. We have 146 channels plus HD channels coming next year. They have limited content and a limited network to deliver the content on. They also have a business plan on paper, but I don’t understand it”.
In his presentation Williams reported that Foxtel’s operating profit was now $76 million up from $4 in 2005/2006.
He also reported that revenue had increased from $1,268 Billion to $1.421 billion.
Other performance increases announced were: Churn rate has dropped to 11.4% compared to 13.5% for Sky in the UK and 20.2% for Dish in the USA.